Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 69–96

Experimental in vivo measurements of light emission in plants: a perspective dedicated to David Walker

  • Hazem M. Kalaji
  • Vasilij Goltsev
  • Karolina Bosa
  • Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev
  • Reto J. Strasser
  • Govindjee

DOI: 10.1007/s11120-012-9780-3

Cite this article as:
Kalaji, H.M., Goltsev, V., Bosa, K. et al. Photosynth Res (2012) 114: 69. doi:10.1007/s11120-012-9780-3


This review is dedicated to David Walker (1928–2012), a pioneer in the field of photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence. We begin this review by presenting the history of light emission studies, from the ancient times. Light emission from plants is of several kinds: prompt fluorescence (PF), delayed fluorescence (DF), thermoluminescence, and phosphorescence. In this article, we focus on PF and DF. Chlorophyll a fluorescence measurements have been used for more than 80 years to study photosynthesis, particularly photosystem II (PSII) since 1961. This technique has become a regular trusted probe in agricultural and biological research. Many measured and calculated parameters are good biomarkers or indicators of plant tolerance to different abiotic and biotic stressors. This would never have been possible without the rapid development of new fluorometers. To date, most of these instruments are based mainly on two different operational principles for measuring variable chlorophyll a fluorescence: (1) a PF signal produced following a pulse-amplitude-modulated excitation and (2) a PF signal emitted during a strong continuous actinic excitation. In addition to fluorometers, other instruments have been developed to measure additional signals, such as DF, originating from PSII, and light-induced absorbance changes due to the photooxidation of P700, from PSI, measured as the absorption decrease (photobleaching) at about 705 nm, or increase at 820 nm. In this review, the technical and theoretical basis of newly developed instruments, allowing for simultaneous measurement of the PF and the DF as well as other parameters is discussed. Special emphasis has been given to a description of comparative measurements on PF and DF. However, DF has been discussed in greater details, since it is much less used and less known than PF, but has a great potential to provide useful qualitative new information on the back reactions of PSII electron transfer. A review concerning the history of fluorometers is also presented.


Delayed fluorescence Fluorometers Photosystem II Prompt fluorescence 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hazem M. Kalaji
    • 1
  • Vasilij Goltsev
    • 2
  • Karolina Bosa
    • 3
  • Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev
    • 4
    • 5
  • Reto J. Strasser
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
  • Govindjee
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Plant PhysiologyFaculty of Agriculture and Biology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGWWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Department of Biophysics and RadiobiologyFaculty of Biology St. Kliment Ohridski University of SofiaSofiaBulgaria
  3. 3.Department of PomologyFaculty of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGWWarsawPoland
  4. 4.Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Institute of Basic Biological Problems, Russian Academy of SciencesPushchinoRussia
  6. 6.Bioenergetics LaboratoryUniversity of GenevaJussy, GenevaSwitzerland
  7. 7.Weed Research LaboratoryNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  8. 8.Research Unit Environmental Science and ManagementNorth-West University (Potchefstroom Campus)PotchefstroomRepublic of South Africa
  9. 9.Department of Biochemistry, Department of Plant Biology, and Center of Biophysics & Computational BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations